Side Effects and Cautions
When taken by mouth, ginseng is usually well tolerated. Some sources suggest that its use
be limited to 3 months because of concerns about the development of side effects.
The most common side effects are headaches and sleep and gastrointestinal problems.
Asian ginseng can cause allergic reactions.
There have been reports of breast tenderness, menstrual irregularities, and high blood
pressure associated with Asian ginseng products, but these products' components were not
analyzed, so effects may have been due to another herb or drug in the product.
Asian ginseng may lower levels of blood sugar; this effect may be seen more in people with
diabetes. Therefore, people with diabetes should use extra caution with Asian ginseng,
especially if they are using medicines to lower blood sugar or taking other herbs, such as
bitter melon and fenugreek, that are also thought to lower blood sugar.
Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use.
Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure
coordinated and safe care.
Asian ginseng may also inhibit blood clotting. Don't use ginseng if you are already taking
anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®).